Review Vol.1 Gourmet Detective – Manga

With the excellent reception of Le Tigre des Neiges and Tokyo Tarareba Girls in Le Lézard Noir then the Trait pour trait in the Akata edition, mangaka Akiko Higashimura finally seems to be getting the recognition she has deserved in our country for several years now, and the Delcourt/Tonkam edition also seems to notice this. Three and a half years after the end of Princess Jellyfish (a series which, as a reminder, had been published by Akata during its collaboration with Delcourt), the publisher returned to this talented author, launching all these beginnings. in February of one of his current series: Gourmet Detective. From the original name Bishoku Tantei Akechi Gorô, this work was launched in Japan in 2015 in the Shûeisha issue of Cocohana magazine (the magazine that has included Trait pour trait), and currently has 10 volumes. He has a direct serial adaptation in 2020 in his native country.

The series takes us to the office of an one-of-a-kind detective in Omotesandô, a chic street district in Tôkyô that the mangaka has performed at on certain occasions in the past, most notably in Tokyo’s Tarareba Girls. It is in this office that Gorô Akechi, a private detective who is as interested in investigations as he is in gastronomy in all its forms as long as it is good, goes berserk. And that’s why, on a regular basis, he enjoys tasting the bento prepared by the passionate Ichigo Kobayashi, the young manager of the food truck that sits on the sidewalk right in front of his cabinet, where everything is simple but homemade. But on a day when an investigation into suspicions of adultery somewhat soured his detective skills to an unexpected and tragic outcome, Akechi finally brings Ichigo in for his next investigation where, each time, he takes strong risks to find traces of her in his travels. of elusive criminals…

This first volume offers us the first two murder cases, of which the first really only serves as a prelude to setting up the character, before the second, already longer by taking up three-quarters of the volume, offers poisoning cases that serve mainly to consolidate a place. taken by the so-called “Mary Magdalene”. The cases themselves, for the moment however, are clearly not meant to stimulate the reader in any aspect of their investigation: the first is very brief, serves only as an installation, and the second reveals to us from the outset the identity of the case. criminal. So don’t look for classic whodunit recipes here, for the story’s interest lies elsewhere.

First, the nature of Akechi and the extraordinary duo he forms with Ichigo. With his looks from another time (Texas set in mind) which however doesn’t hinder his caricatured chic and elegant side and a certain phlegm in his investigations, our hero shows off effortlessly, even more so when around with Ichigo, a bubbly man. a simple cook who finds himself involved in his business. With their appearances, their statuses and their very different characters, the two form a mismatched couple who turns out to be very beautiful and agile, especially considering the way they talk to each other (like the regular “Go Kobayashi” released by Akechi, a kind of language gimmick). reasonable small).

Later, the gastronomy scene picked up on this story. As well as being a culinary expert herself (she’s even part of the culinary club), Akechi is involved here with the first two cases where the kitchen has a prominent role, hence Ichigo’s involvement in her investigation. Which in particular is an opportunity for Higashimura to discuss certain elements related to cooking, such as the variety of apples, or the importance of food as a moment of sharing.

Then, the mangaka’s way of taking the opportunity to get a glimpse of Japanese society, between the boundaries of the police (especially in the case of murder which often overwhelms him, to the point that it might push him to suffocate. ) or the certain boundaries that women face in relation to men -man: boring married life because of husband who doesn’t communicate, fraud/adultery…

Finally, the thread that lays around the apparent game of hide and seek between Akechi and the one who calls herself Maria Magdalene, a woman in hiding, beneath her very mature and seductive appearance (at least, after exonerating herself). bleak everyday life with her husband…), holy ingenuity to commit her crimes, to the point of being elusive. We sense it, the detective will have to redouble his mischief to, one day, corner a “monster” he accidentally created himself, and this also isn’t done without some sort of little game of seduction, as long as Mary appears to be doing it. wanted to drop Akechi in his nets in the end.

Beneath Akiko Higashimura’s excellent narrative qualities, the beginnings of this investigative manga like no other follow themselves. The characters, concepts, and threads are in place so well, that we wish them all the best for the future.

As for the edition, we reserve the right to the Delcourt/Tonkam signature small shôjo/shônen format, with flexible, non-transparency paper and honest print quality. Easy to handle, object book also benefits from classic and clean fonts from studio Makma, excellent translations always well pitched from the wonderful Miyako Slocombe (a great connoisseur of Higashimura as she has worked on Le Tigre des Neiges, Tokyo Tarareba Girls and Trait pour trait), and a beautiful cover that’s both faithful to the Japanese original and complemented by the elegant title logo that adheres so well to the series.

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